Restaurant Review Roulette: Flights

This week’s review is of Flights, the restaurant in the Marriott-owned North Hills-based Renaissance Hotel.  So, it’s a Marriott, eh?  They’re not really known for putting top notch restaurants in their hotels.  But what’s this on the menu?  Pork from Cane Creek Farms?  Locally sourced produce?  Goat cheese from Elodie Farms?  So, what you’re saying is that this Marriott doesn’t get all their stuff from US Foods???  Hmmm, maybe this restaurant won’t suck.

I have an inherent bias against hotel restaurants, but I suspect this place just might be better than it needs to be, and decent enough to hold its own versus the other places in North Hills.  With that, I’m thinking this is a 3.5 to 4 star restaurant, and my hunch is that it’s going to be the higher rating.  We shall see on Friday.  Here are this week’s odds:

5 stars — 35 to 1

4.5 stars – 7 to 1

4 stars — 2 to 1

3.5 stars — 5 to 2

3 stars — 5 to 1

2.5 stars —  6 to 1

2 stars — 9 to 1

1.5 stars — 15 to 1

1 star — 25 to 1

Do I have a single reader who has made it to Flights?  And, be honest, how many of you never even heard of this place?


Edit: Flights soared to a 4 star rating, with Greg Cox using every airplane metaphor possible in his review.  As I would have done, too.


12 Responses to Restaurant Review Roulette: Flights

  1. Justin Munger says:

    I have had dinner at flights, it was a wonderful experience. The Crab Cake was amazing, the amount of crab meat in it was unbelievable. The She Crab Bisque was off the charts good, and the tableside presentation was great. Oh and the chefs Hot Cheesecake was certainly a life changing experience, who would have thought that a hot cheesecake could be so outstanding.

  2. Kim says:

    I’ve dined there too. I agree with Justin about the she crab bisque — exceptional in taste and presentation. The chefs put sherry in the crab meat, not the bisque, so it’s infused without being overwhelming. You’ll see the chefs at the Midtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings gathering goodies for their menu.
    Their chocolate stuffed filet is genius.
    Flights FAR outshines any other dining establishment at North Hills. Nothing can touch it.

  3. Prospector says:

    I’m excited to see this review, Mr. Cox is often pretty good at pointing me in the right direction of good places to eat. Frankly, I’ve not even heard of this spot and I’m in North Hill alot( is it even on the NH restaurant directory ). Also, I agree with varmint I don’t really ever consider hotel restaurants, but the local produce and meats are a shock to my hotel stigma system. If this review is a winner as you predict I may have to fight my better judgement, brave the lobby and check out this new NH “Hot Spot”. Thanks for bringing what could be a new great Raleigh restaurant to my attention.

    p.s. I just wish the restaurant had a real website, it helps this day and age.

  4. Kim says:

    Prospector — the chefs have established a Facebook page, since they couldn’t get a webpage.

  5. Tom says:

    Until about a month ago you are right I hadn’t heard anything about the restaurant in the north hills hotel, but when I had some family visit recently as guests of the hotel we decided to have diner there.
    It was really great. The menu had lots to choose from and I went with the “chicken and waffles”, it was fun and delicious, next time I want a plate of the waffles! My wife had the scallop dish which our server told us was a popular and tasty choice, boy was he right she still talks about it. I’m a fan, I plan on being back.
    Varmint, I suggest you make it out to this “hotel resutarant”.

  6. NC Chevalier says:


    we’ve been fans for over a year (I posted a review 3/9/09 at

    Also, we’re having a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs event there in October.

  7. Impressed says:

    This past Saturday I gave Flights a try, Greg Cox did me right. Never do I feel the need to write reviews on restaurants but I felt so impressed by the meal I recieved at Flights that I needed to tell about this hidden gem. Hidden is right, by the way, I totally agree with Prospector’s comment they do need a website I was looking for a couple days for somewhere to sound off about this restaurant and thankfully I found this site before I gave up(great site by the way, you’ve got a new fan). I’ve eaten at mostly all the restaurants in North Hills and this place outshines them all. Try the salmon, and the s’mores!

  8. burgeoningfoodie says:

    I’m guessing by Hotel Restaurants you are referring to chain hotels. As 3-4 hotel restaurants in this area seem to stand out

    Carolina Crossroads
    Fearrington’s Restaurant
    Herons at the Umstead

    Looks like I’ll have to make my way to Flights too, but first J. Betski’s.

  9. will says:

    Well, I’ve been waiting to try this place since the review. So last week I finally went and it was really nice, food was fantastic, it was fun and inventive which I wasn’t expecting from a hotel restaurant. It now tops my list of places to eat at North Hills, it isn’t cheap eats but it didn’t cost me all that much either. The only down fall for this place is the service, not terrible but not to the caliber of the food comming out, nothing a little polishing can’t help.

  10. Hayden Tompkins says:

    Honestly, this restaurant is a revelation. Chris and I spend most of our ‘restaurant’ money on local ethnic places because we find more traditional Raleigh dining – while perfectly adequate – a little boring. (I know you love Coquette but when we finally made it there, we found it kind of ‘meh’. Meanwhile, our trip to The Mint was a combination of boring and exciting in all the wrong ways! Still waiting to get to Heron’s…)

    But how we enjoyed Flights!!!

    We ordered rather traditionally – bruschetta and a cobb salad to start, we split a NY strip entree, as well as s’mores for dessert – and were consistently and pleasantly surprised through the entire meal. And the flavor!!

    Good lord, there was this sweet potato custard paired with the NY strip that was AMAZING. The steak was a little on the tough side and they were a trifle heavy with the onion in the Cobb salad, but otherwise we LOVED this place and will be back.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hey Varmint,
    I was thinking about checking out Flights during Restaurant week, but I figured I should see what you think. Have you tried this place yet? I hear good things, but hotel restaurant??? What do you think?

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